Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-06-24
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Alla Kovgan dances with Cunningham
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2019-12-27

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Filmmaker Alla Kovgan has created a new 3D documentary depicting the works of modern dance pioneer Merce Cunningham. Moscow born Kovgan has built a career in Europe and the US with dance films over the years. Her goal is to mix visual art with cinema.

The doc spans three decades of Cunningham's career while showing his accomplishments and influence on the world of dance.

Windy City Times: You are from Moscow, but where are you based?

Alla Kovgan: I moved to New York for this project.

WCT: It took seven years?

AK: Yes. When I moved to America I felt I couldn't write scripts, so looked for physical performance. That's how I entered the whole dance world.

WCT: What inspired you to make Cunningham in 3D?

AK: I never wanted to make a movie about Merce. I was petrified of him as a choreographer because he would have 16 people going in different directions. How would I make a single shot? Just think about it, huge spaces and people everywhere.

I knew of him because of my work with dance. He made films and I have seen them.

The Rockefeller Association had a grant to create a film about New York based choreography using 3d technology. So actually all of this started from 3D. Since 3D is very good with space and uncut shots, I thought it would be good for Merce. He was obsessed with every technologic advancement of his time, so I am sure he would have liked it.

The last generation of his dancers were in front of me. He trained them and then he died. There wouldn't be any more.

WCT: How was filming the balloon sequence?

AK: Usually you have choreography of light and bodies, but now there was the choreography of the balloons on top of that. It was a wonderful and disastrous relationship because they wouldn't listen!

We had tricks to set them in place and fans to make them move. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't, but in the end, we got what we wanted. It was a painful process.

WCT: Merce would have been 100 years old this year. Was that the goal to have the movie out for his birthday?

AK: Not at all. I wanted the movie to be done five years ago! [laughs] He must have wanted us to wait until he's a hundred.

WCT: What did you discover about Merce Cunningham and John Cage's relationship?

AK: I went digging a lot. I know when John Cage moved to New York and met Merce he was married to a woman. He had relationships with men and women. People have made theories about how their art was connected to their homosexuality. There were no personal archives available. There must have been letters…

WCT: I have read there were letters.

AK: Laura Kuhn started publishing letters from John to Merce, but Merce's letters have not come out yet. People didn't know they were in a relationship until the world tour in 1964. They met in the late '30s and no one knew about their relationship.

John loved his wife and also Merce, so it was a really complicated situation. I used a song in the film that was supposedly him processing this change that he was going through, that he would be with Merce and his wife would leave.

I was very interested in the Lecture on Nothing that John Cage gave at the Artist's Club in Manhattan in 1950. The club was full of heterosexual, macho painters where no gay people or women were allowed. The reason they weren't allowed is because they had their own organizations, but why did they need to state it like that?

Why was he giving a lecture like that? Many LGBT theorists say it was a response to all of this, that the silence was an act of protest. It was an active silence, not a passive silence.

John Cage was saying that he had nothing to say and he was saying it. I latched onto that.

This was the only thing in the film that was public. On the outside, no one knew about their relationship. It didn't come through in their work. The first time it was announced was by Cage in 1989 when he said he cooks and Merce does the dishes.

I just found little pieces and I had to talk about it, but wanted to keep the integrity of what they were presenting. They were not advertising it. Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns were all in the closet, but much more open.

WCT: You dedicated the film to David Vaughan. Who is that?

AK: David Vaughan met Merce in 1950 and died in 2017. I spent a lot of time with him. He kept index cards and had stories. He was also gay, but didn't learn that Cage and Cunningham were in a relationship until 1964.

WCT: Shouldn't John Cage have his own movie?

AK: There are movies about him. There are 15 movies about Merce. This movie comes from his work and we wanted to translate his ideas into cinema.

WCT: Cunningham seems more of a visual film overall, where we finally learn more about him by the end.

AK: We wanted to show his evolution of work and then bring up his story, his continuing, persevering and making it work.

WCT: What can new audiences, particularly gay audiences, take away from this film?

AK: You don't need to know a lot about Merce or dance to watch it. It will make people think about their bodies. He describes a body as an instrument that deteriorates from birth. Anyone can relate to that. It's a very human story. We demystify him in a way.

People don't know the story of three gay guys that started a dance company. They came from visual arts, dance and music. They came together because they had ideas.

It's a very American story. They were all self made with no art education. They didn't have money or an audience or press for 30 years. Things eventually turned around.

That is incredibly inspiring. All young people should see it. They were there because they were interested in what they were doing and interested in each other. They had a vision and they stuck with it.

Cunningham dances into Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark St. on Jan. 3. Tickets and more information can be found at LandmarkTheatres.com .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Terrence McNally, Latino/a/x musicians, singer Harry Hains, Lena Waithe 2020-06-29 - Tony-winning actors Billy Porter and Rita Moreno, along with director Jeff Kaufman, will celebrate Terrence McNally on Wed., July 1, at 8 p.m. ...


Gay News

PODCASTS 'A Queer Serial' delves into LGBTQ history 2020-06-24 - Devlyn Camp, the host of A Queer Serial podcast, is preparing for season two, continuing the stories of milestones in LGBTQ history before ...


Gay News

TELEVISION Dashaun Wesley spills the tea on HBO Max's 'Legendary' 2020-06-24 - "Ladies, gentlemen and genderqueers" exclaims Dashaun Wesley as host and emcee for the new ballroom culture reality-competition show Legendary, on HBO Max. ...


Gay News

NUNN ON ONE TELEVISION Brian Tanen talks about 'Love, Simon' spinoff 'Love, Victor' 2020-06-24 - Ready to binge a new queer-centered television series that had a spoonful too much gay sugar to let the medicine go down for ...


Gay News

NUNN ON ONE Miss Lawrence talks new song, activism and Lee Daniels 2020-06-24 - Reality-show personality Miss Lawrence has built a diverse career in acting, singing and activism. Growing up in Atlanta, Lawrence pursued hairstyling, which ...


Gay News

Music Box, Kino Lorber hosting film 'Proud' 2020-06-23 - To honor Pride Month, the Music Box Theatre and Kino Lorber are presenting Philippe Faucon's three-part episodic cinema event Proud as a Virtual ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Lee Daniels, 'Walking Dead' star, Sylvester, Richard Simmons 2020-06-23 - Openly gay producer/director Lee Daniels ( TV's Empire; producer of the movie Monster's Ball ) said he was the original director of the ...


Gay News

TV: Sam Feder, Laverne Cox discuss trans documentary 'Disclosure' 2020-06-20 - Disclosure is a new original documentary debuting on Netflix in time for Pride season. Through a series of movie and television clips plus ...


Gay News

Music Box, Kino Lorber hosting film 'Proud' starting June 19 2020-06-16 - To honor Pride Month, the Music Box Theatre and Kino Lorber are presenting Philippe Faucon's three-part episodic cinema event Proud as a Virtual ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Lady Gaga, 'Pride Castle,' Terrence McNally, LGBTQ film 2020-06-15 - When Lady Gaga's Chromatica album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, it not only marked the superstar's sixth chart-topper, but ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.